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Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Review: Bloodlines: Four Tales of Familial Fear

Bloodlines: Four Tales of Familial Fear
by Christopher O'Halloran, Antony Frost, Carson Winter & Alex Wolfgang

Publisher: AFM Press
Publish Date: January 11, 2022
Kindle Edition
Genre: Horror, Anthology, Short Stories

If you’ve ever dreaded a family dinner, felt terror at the blood pumping in your veins; if you’ve ever thought maybe the people you call kin just aren’t quite right—Bloodlines will hold you in its thrall with its literary daring, blood-soaked wit, and taste for carnage. From quiet horror to caterwauling bloodshed, this quadruple feature is fun for the whole family.

A trio of sisters take turns sharing a migraine that challenges their pain tolerance—and sanity ("Our Migraine," Christopher O’Halloran).

A man struggles with his inheritance when his absent father—and namesake—dies, leaving him with disturbing visions and an unwanted purpose ("Nos Da, Tad," Antony Frost).

A young ghost watches a sinister family gathering complete with a prettier, smarter replica of herself—then, makes sure it’s their last ("I Am Not to be Replaced," Carson Winter).

Following the death of his mother, the eldest of five siblings must uncover the true nature of his family’s strange, isolated existence while an apocalyptic event looms ("The Heads of Leviathan," Alex Wolfgang).

This is where the family tree meets the family plot. This is Bloodlines. 

My Review:

I saw the cover and HAD TO HAVE IT. What's scarier than your own family? 😉 Give me four novelettes of family fear and well, I'm SOLD.

These four stories center around family (duh) and these very different and fun horror tellings that will definitely have you side eyeing everyone around the dinner table... and then some. My favorite was the first story, "Our Migraine".  The concept and delivery was just *chef's kiss* and a fantastic start to this 4 story horror anthology. Bookended by "The Heads of Leviathan", which was so out there but a wonderful delivery for the final of the four.  The two in the middle, "Nos Da, Tad" and "I Will Not Be Replaced" were a bit more intricate in the lessons within.  

I don't want to say too much as I felt even the descriptions were a bit "telling" .. however, even when you think you know what's happening, each story takes a sharp turn and are brilliant in their own right.  Family horror is impactful in that each person can relate to some part and make you question just how far nurture can take you... 

I feel a bit stunted in writing this review as it's hard to not spoil it all but I found each and every story unique and wonderful.  


Sunday, December 12, 2021

Review: Watch Her Fall by Erin Kelly

Watch Her Fall
by Erin Kelly

Thanks so umuch to Hodder & Stoughton for this gifted book.

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Publish Date: April 1, 2021
400 Pages
Genres: Thriller, Suspense

Swan Lake is divided into the black acts and the white acts. The Prince is on stage for most of the ballet, but it's the swans audiences flock to see. In early productions, Odette and Odile were performed by two different dancers. These days, it is usual for the same dancer to play both roles. Because of the faultless ballet technique required to master the steps, and the emotional range needed to perform both the virginal Odette and the dark, seductive Odile, this challenging dual role is one of the most coveted in all ballet. Dancers would kill for the part.

Ava Kirilova has reached the very top of her profession. After years and years of hard graft, pain and sacrifice as part of the London Russian Ballet Company, allowing nothing else to distract her, she is finally the poster girl for Swan Lake. Even Mr K - her father, and the intense, terrifying director of the company - can find no fault. Ava has pushed herself ahead of countless other talented, hardworking girls, and they are all watching her now.

But there is someone who really wants to see Ava fall ...

My Review:

Do y'all remember that Supernatural episode where that ballerina put on some cursed shoes and literally danced her feet off? This book kind of reminds me of that.  It starts off kind of slow but then gets faster and faster until you're spinning and then... your feet fall off. 🤣 Well... at least I kinow what I'm talking about.....

This was the #BuddyReadsToDieFor pick for November.  End of November and this month so far have just been really busy so not am I only finishing this late, this is also only the second book I've finished so far this month. 😳  This month is definitely a refresher month for me and I can hopefully revamp somet things in the new year.  ON WITH THE BOOK REVIEW.

This one took me a minute to get into.   I wasn't sure what to expect and the atmosphere of being a ballerina and all it entails is stressed strongly.  I certainly would never have the discipline or will power to be a dancer, that's for sure!  At times I felt like this one lulled and occasionally it took me a minute to figure out which POV we were in.  But that ending really is an amazing pay off.  I think because I decided to listen to this on audio AND because I've been so busy it took me a couple weeks to get fully through it, it didn't have as big of an impact on me as if I had read it physically in a session or two.  

How far would you go if you wanted something badly enough?  How do you spend your life dedicated to the arts... just to know it could be stripped from you at any time?  TOO MUCH PRESSURE!!  Overall I did really enjoy this story.  While some parts could feel repetitive and lulled, the pay off at the end makes it worth the read.


Monday, December 6, 2021

Review: All of Us Villains by Amanda Foody & Christine Lynn Herman

All of Us Villains
by Amanda Foody & Christine Lynn Herman

Thanks so much to Tor Teen for this fun gifted book!

Publisher: Tor Teen
Publish Date: November 9, 2021
400 Pages
Series: All of Us Villains #1
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

The Blood Moon rises. The Blood Veil falls. The Tournament begins.

Every generation, at the coming of the Blood Moon, seven families in the remote city of Ilvernath each name a champion to compete in a tournament to the death.

The prize? Exclusive control over a secret wellspring of high magick, the most powerful resource in the world--one thought long depleted.

This year, thanks to a salacious tell-all book, the seven champions are thrust into worldwide spotlight, granting each of them new information, new means to win, and most importantly: a choice - accept their fate or rewrite their story.

But this is a story that must be penned in blood.

My Review:

Ok y'all.  I'm a sucker for these types of books.  Oh hello kiddos with all your magick power in a battle where the last one standing wins? Sound familiar? I bet it does but this time we get ALL VILLAINS... which just means that I get to root for them all. 😉 Give me all the world building, teach me about some of these families - SOMEONE TEACH ME TO MAKE MAGICK! Did I say that I love villains?!

I love first in a series books that's high on the character and world development, but also gives us a lot of action too.  What I DO NOT like, is the enormous cliffhanger at the end.  Ok ok ok... I expected but UFF - did y'all want to make sure we'd go to book two? BECAUSE YOU WIN.  I'm in for the ride.  I do think we'll learn more about the other houses, about where these characters are going because they're growing no matter which way they decide to go.  And there's a couple of questions I have left in my head re a couple plot lines but I'm sure those will be answered in the next book.  I HOPE.  

Honestly readers, this is a fun dark(ish) fantasy of kids trying to live up to their family, their own and the world's expectations.  I love tournament action and wish we head just a *bit* more of it but I do expect great things coming.  Anyone else in love with Alistair? *swoon*